Catchment Areas: How Much Is A Good School  Worth?

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair became famous, or notorious, for claiming that his government’s priorities would be “Education, education, education” but instead they turned out to be “location, location, location” - if you want your children to receive a good education!

A recent study by the Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed what we always suspected, that house prices are 8% higher than average near the best-performing primary schools and 6.8% higher near top secondaries.

How much is a good school worth?

Across England, the average house price of £232,900 would go up £18,600 around one of the best primary schools and £15,800 near one of the best secondary schools.

Buying agent and market commentator Henry Pryor said: "At long last, the government is confirming what many people have known for years, that being near a good school adds to the price of a home”.

Location, location, location

"It is all about location, location, location. Good schools put up the price in the same way as high-speed broadband or being near a rail station.”

The differential is so extreme in some areas that it’s actually cheaper for some parents to pay to send their children to private school than to pay the premium on a property near a good state school.

However, a private education still isn’t an option for the majority of families wanting to locate to the Abingdon area, so what should they to do?

The report could have a silver lining; now the DfE has officially acknowledged the problem, the Government may feel obliged to act.

In response to the DfE report, school standards minister Nick Gibb has said: "We want to end this unfairness and our proposals will create more good school places in every part of the country, so every child can have the excellent education they deserve".

No grammar schools?

The government is planning to create more grammar schools across the country but this isn’t likely in Oxfordshire, as the County Council recently voted heavily against reintroducing grammar schools.

Fortunately, Abingdon and surrounding areas aren’t short of great quality primary and secondary schools and Oxfordshire County Council, as the Local Education Authority, isn’t opposing the creation of new “Free” schools, academies, outside LEA control.

Abingdon does in fact benefit from three Private Schools, including the renowned Abingdon School. In addition, the majority of the public and academy schools in the area rated either 'good' 'outstanding' in the most recent Ofsted reports.

We’re sure families wanting to move into the area will do their research first, but it’s always worth raising the subject with your estate agents, as the exceptional ones will employ local staff with a firm underpinning of knowledge of the local areas.

Where can I find school catchment area information?

Resources such as the local papers will help also. The Oxford Mail has listings of schools if you’re thinking of moving into an area and Oxfordshire County Council has a list of schools on its website. For an in depth appraisal of your potential local school, you can refer to the Ofsted website.

If you’re planning to raise a family, the advice we would give at Simpsons is to make sure you refer to these sources but also let us know when you start your property search which catchment area you want to be in. (After all lifestyle is, and always will be, the biggest consideration factor when moving house).

For some honest, independent advice from an estate agent that knows the area, please give us a call on 01235 520079 or send us a message here. We’d be happy to help.

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